Pine River junior eyes trip to state tourney

LEROY —  Pine River is counting upon plenty of veteran wrestlers to get the job done this season, and that includes Joe Rigling.

It’s his junior season and he’s at 152 and 160 pounds. It’s his third varsity season. He made it to individual regionals and team state last season.

“I’m ready,” he said of this season. “I hope to go to state, individuals.  I need to work as hard as I can, and get the technique down.”

Rigling played football, but also did some wrestling this offseason to get ready for the Pine River schedule.

Escapes and defensive moves at all positions are among Rigling’s strengths. He’ll be working on his top position “and putting myself in a position to score.”

The Bucks have had two weeks of action including a 10th-place effort at the Marquette Invitational.

“We’re a lot younger than last year,” Rigling said of the 2014-15 regional championship team. “We lost some key people. We’re just working as hard as we can to get better.”

Rigling expects to face tough competition in his weight class from teams like Manton and Reed City, plus other downstate schools.

Pine River is home Jan. 6 against Benzie Central and Frankfort and at the Alma Invitational on Saturday.